by Grace Hunter

Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. John 21:1-6 NIV 

We are going to use our imaginations this week in our devotionals. Let’s picture this scene, Peter along with Thomas, Nathanael, James, John and two more of Jesus’ disciples are near the Sea of Galilee at night. It has been some time; we don’t know how long, perhaps a week or two since His resurrection, that they have seen Jesus.

Peter decides, “I’m going out to fish”, John 21:3. Peter murmurs to himself, “I know how to fish, I’m going to do something, I’m going to do something to earn money or to get some food, I’m tired of waiting. I’m a man who needs to be doing something, not waiting for something to happen. I’m going fishing.” All the others decide to go with him, get into one boat, row out to the deep part of the Sea of Galilee, fish all night long, but manage not to catch anything –- not even one little fish. Peter and everyone in the boat are disappointed. Peter, James and John, fisherman, think to themselves, “We know how to do this; we did this for our living before we knew Jesus. We don’t know where he is right now and we don’t understand: Why can’t we catch anything? We did everything we know how to do, but we can’t find any fish tonight.”

Early in the morning, the sun is just starting to come over the horizon. As the men row their boat to shore, they see a man standing on shore, but they cannot see him clearly. “He [calls] out to them. ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No’ they answered”, John 21:5, NIV.

The man called to Peter and the others in the boat, “friends”. None of them recognized him. But then he gives them an interesting direction to follow. “He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some’”,  John 21:6a.

Peter harkening back to a previous encounter: “I remember the last time this happened, Jesus, a man from Nazareth, a carpenter – not a fisherman – told us to put our net over into the water after another long disappointing night of fishing. Last time, we had so many fish in our net that it started to break. Ok, I’m game, we will put the net on the right side of the boat and see what happens.”

“When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish”,  John 21:6b, NIV. The others as well as Peter remembered the other time a man told them to fish in an unusual way. Each one is thinking, “the man on the shore must be Jesus”.  He called them friends. Jesus had called them “friends” right before he was arrested. Could it be? Hope is rising in each person’s heart. Jesus is on the shore!

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:12-17 NIV

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